With just one week left in this epic city, I'm starting to feel the way I used to at the end of one my long trips to Asia. I keep thinking about things I want to do back in California.
The first things that come to mind are...
SUPER TACOS from Cancun in The Mission, hanging out with one of my best friends and mother comrades Lauren and our daughters playing together, listening to my man and our good friend Lars jam for hours and I can't wait to eat many things from Trader Joe's (chocolate oranges, BACON, Semifreddi's cinnamon swirl bread to name a few).
There are things that I have longed for specifically because things are so different here in Istanbul...
I am excited to take a walk in the summer heat wearing a dress and not feel completely stared at and surveyed because of my attire. I am excited to go out and not be overwhelmed by the amount of cigarette smoke masked by dreadful amounts of bad cologne. I look forward to, at least usually, being given the same respect as my husband. I think my daughter will enjoy going out without getting her hair tousled, cheeks pinched and being spoken to by complete strangers as she is, usually, very resistant to that behavior.
There will be things that I miss...
Our beautiful and spacious apartment. My dance space with an enormous mirror. Our lovely market down the street that has amazing produce and very friendly workers. The sweets and cookies that have become my favorites (i.e. Karam Gurme!). Watching, from the back balcony, as all the women and wives on my block hang up their laundry. Part of me will miss walking around and not understanding anything I hear since it sort of alleviates any responsibility and feels like floating (but another part of me misses feeling competent in society!). I will miss the beautiful ezan (call to prayer) that we hear from several mosques around our apartment. I have made a few friends here and they have provided great relief by way of listening and giving their perspectives on Turkey and Istanbul, especially when I've been frustrated or confused.
There are things I have realized I took for granted while still in California that I will try to be more proactive about...
The incredible magnitude of affordable dance classes! I am intent on starting to take from a few dancers who I have admired up close and from afar (Zoe Jakes, Kami Liddle, Andrea Sendek) and also taking with Miriam Peretz again when she is in the area.
My wonderful girlfriends from my hometown! They have been such great, helpful and supportive friends, but it has been years since I have spent time with them in a consistent way.
Performance opportunities! After this trip which included only ONE performance, I am set on becoming an active performance artist and I have much more appreciation for the venues, bands and other dancers that I know in The Bay and other parts of California.
My plan for this final week here isn't very exciting since I don't like going out too much now, especially since the attack on the American Consulate. I mean, I'm not going around wearing an American Flag, but people can tell that we aren't Turkish. Our friends are having a barbecue this weekend and I might go to see my man play his last show with the band he's been working with here, Duma Duma Orkestra. I'm going to try and utilize my lovely dance space to make a few more improvisational videos because that has been so much fun for reflection and to share with friends. We have a few more logistical things to get done (I have a list of course, almost everything is checked off). I have a few bags of things to donate to a school for Syrian refugees.
I've been a little bored staying inside most days but it's still been too hot for me out there! I make and eat a ridiculous amount of crepes and, watch nostalgic shows like F.R.I.E.N.D.S., try to line things up for our return and play with my daughter a lot. I've been so into taking photos (mostly of my daughter) and I hope that one day I can get a good digital camera. Here's a few of my recent favorites and a dance video.